Where to travel
This winter explore the environs of Sukhna Lake (Sector 1, Chandigarh) and go boating to meet the migratory birds from far and wide. This year on the last weekend go to the lake instead of partying in disco / pub, and combine New Year celebrations with bird watching for a change.
Who will enjoy this short adventure trip idea?
Amateur and seasoned bird watchers would love the Sukhna Wetland.
What to do & see: physical, cultural
Boating in the lake facing the Shiwalik Range of the Himalaya
Chandigarh Forest Department has set up a small make-shift “office” at the rear entrance (regulator end) of the lake. One of the department officials is available at the lake to help you in spotting and identifying migrant birds. This is a complimentary service. The office provides a telescope and binocular free-of-charge.
After preliminary round of bird watching, you can walk through the forest. The muddy trail starts near the bridge, located at the rear entrance of the lake.
When to go
Go for bird watching in morning and evening
How to reach
Chandigarh is about 250-300 kilometers from Delhi, the capital of India.
Air India, Jet Airways and SpiceJet operate flights between New Delhi and Chandigarh. You can directly book on the websites of these airlines and / or check fare at travel booking websites like Clear Trip, MakeMyTrip, Via and Yatra.
The Indian Railways run ten trains connecting New Delhi and Chandigarh. Except two all trains run every day. Kalka Shatabadi (Train Numbers: 12011 and 12005) takes just 3hrs and 25 minutes, the shortest time. The First Class (1A) fare amounts to INR 960.00 per passenger. The fare for Chair Car (CC) is INR 451.00 per passenger.
You can even travel by bus. For instance,
Haryana Road Transport runs Volvo buses from Inter State Bus Terminal (ISBT), Delhi. The basic fare is INR 510.00 per passenger.
Punjab State Bus Stand Management Company (PunBus/Punjab Roadways) runs buses between ISBT, Delhi and Chandigarh. The company offers AC and non-AC buses. The fare starts from INR 355.00 per passenger.
If you have deep pockets, travel by a taxi. The taxi fare starts from INR 2,000.00 for Indica.
MakeMyTrip also offers online car booking service for this route.
There are several government and private hotels in Chandigarh to meet requirements of travelers from all walks of life. For example,
Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) manages three properties: Hotel Mountview, Hotel Parkview and Hotel Shivalikview. You can book the accommodation online. Tariff for Semi Deluxe Room in Hotel Parkview aggregates INR 1,650.00 per night exclusive of taxes.
Lemon Tree Hotel (Chandigarh), a private hotel, is offering useful freebies. Review its special offer that includes buffet breakfast, complimentary Wi-Fi and newspaper. http://www.lemontreehotels.com/chandigarh/hotel-chandigarh-offers.aspx
For plush accommodations, check hotel deals and promotions by JW Marriott, Chandigarh. http://www.marriott.com/hotels/hotel-deals/ixcjw-jw-marriott-hotel-chandigarh/
We visited the lake and its environs on December 15-16, 2012. We walked the forest trail and were lucky to get a chance to see Ruddy Shelduck (Brahminy Duck), Erget, Grey Heorn and Bar Headed Duck. We also spotted Mallard, Common Pochard, Sand Piper, Darter and Common Coot. We are planning another visit.